Lyft recently raised $600 million in a massive funding round, and now we know that $25 million of that came from Jaguar Land Rover, via its mobility services subsidiary InMotion. The car maker's investment in Lyft goes beyond just funds, however; it's providing Lyft drivers with a fleet of Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles as part of the tie-up, and it's also going to work with the ride-hailing tech company on autonomous vehicle testing.
This is yet another high-profile partner for Lyft after a spate of recent new collaborators, including Waymo and, just last week, Nutonomy. Now, Jaguar Land Rover is also joining the company's Open Platform for autonomous cars: The collaboration with InMotion will see the Jaguar Land Rover-owned company "develop and test its mobility services, including autonomous vehicles" using Lyft's platform.
Lyft's ability to rapidly bring on a lot of partners in the car maker space, specifically around autonomy, may have a lot to do with rival Uber's ongoing problems, which now also include mounting calls for CEO Travis Kalanick to step back, at least temporarily, from his leadership role. Lyft has also been pretty clear about seeking to partner on autonomy, rather than pursue its own tech, which is likewise different from Uber's current approach.
Uber, too, has brought automakers to the table around self-driving services and making use of its ride hailing platform for mobility service offerings. Both Uber and Lyft seem interested in being the layer that connects riders and these future services, and for automakers, it means leaving a complex and challenging part of the picture to partners with experience and expertise, rather than having to spin up that part of the tech business themselves.
The fleet provision in the deal is also interesting, and suggests the partnership between the two could involve more strategic cooperative service offerings ahead of the advent of commercial self-driving tech. Lyft gaining more ground among automakers beyond longtime partner GM also explains why it was reported that the ride hailing company turned down overtures regarding a potential acquisition by the Detroit-based automaker.
Written by Darrell Etherington for TechCrunch.